$5M Bounty for Info on OneCoin Founder in Biggest Fraud Scheme Yet

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A bounty of up to $5 million has recently been declared by the United States government. The hefty reward is available for anyone who can provide information that leads to the arrest of notable figure, Ruja Ignatova, the founder of the infamous OneCoin venture. This decision constitutes a critical development in the current cooperative investigation conducted by the American and Bulgarian authorities. The joint probe aims to unveil the secrets behind a titanic financial fraud and money laundering operation purportedly directed by Ignatova herself.

In Bulgaria, temporary Chief Prosecutor Borislav Sarafov, lauded the combined efforts of both US and Bulgarian law enforcement in tackling this convoluted case. The investigation continues to unravel as Ignatova faces multiple charges tied to the notorious OneCoin, what many consider a model pyramid scheme.

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In addition to the intensive investigations, Sarafov disclosed plans about commencing legal proceedings in Bulgaria. The goal is to charge Ignatova in absentia, thereby paving the way for the seizure of assets assumed to have been accrued through illegal means.

The seriousness of the charges levied against Ignatova was emphasized by US Ambassador Kenneth Merten. He branded the OneCoin operation as one of the most significant frauds in recorded history. It is alleged that the victims defrauded by the scheme have sustained a collective financial loss of well over $4 billion.

Plamen Tonchev, the head of Bulgaria’s ‘National Security’ State Agency (SANS), enlightened the public regarding Ignatova’s pivotal role in orchestrating the OneCoin scheme. He depicted it as a deceitful financial operation bearing an uncanny resemblance to a classic pyramid scheme.

Founded in 2014 by Ruja Ignatova, OneCoin was presented as an everyday cryptocurrency. Later investigations revealed the complete absence of a OneCoin blockchain model or payment system. The credibility of OneCoin fell through the floor as allegations of it being a pyramid scheme burgeoned in several countries.

One of the first to decry the fraud was the Norwegian Direct Selling Association, labeling it a pyramid scheme in March 2016. This was soon followed by a warning issued from the Hungarian Central Bank in May the same year.

In 2017, OneCoin falsely advertised to be Vietnam’s first licensed digital currency. This claim, however, was rapidly dismissed by Vietnamese authorities. The aftermath of a 2018 police raid on the OneCoin office in Bulgaria saw the abrupt disappearance of Ignatova after an arrest warrant was issued.

When Ignatova became a fugitive after escaping from Sofia to Athens in 2017, her brother, Konstantin Ignatov, stepped into the shoes of leadership for the company. However, Konstantin’s reign was short-lived – he was arrested on charges of fraud and money laundering in November 2019. Following the course of events, the notorious Ignatova was added to the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted Fugitives list in 2022. The crypto market cap on the daily chart currently stands at $2.1 trillion.